hello hot spell! time to don white stockings!?

(originally posted April 30, 2014)

‘it is too hot for april’ said no portlander ever. until me. i normally love myself a good early spring heat wave. but add an eight month pregnant belly, a toddler who must constantly be in motion outdoors, and a prescription for panty hose – ‘hold up, what?’ you say. that’s right. this girl has doctor’s orders to wear prescription strength (did you know they came in that?) thigh-high stockings that span the color spectrum from catholic-primary-school-nun-beige to toddler-snow-white-costume-white – with nothing in between. i always wanted to grow up to be like sr. jerry, but i did not imagine this would be the first way i emulated her. this pill would be so much easier to swallow in sweater layering and thick sock february, but how is it possible to pull these off in shorts and flip flop season? maxi-skirts are the answer in case you find yourself in this pickle. but that doesn’t solve the fact that i’m supposed to be staying off my feet until i heal and/or the baby is born, which is completely laughable with a high-energy toddler and a three-story house, along with vegetables to be chopped for dinner, laundry washed, and a host of nesting errands to run.

how does one go about getting a prescription for geriatric fashion you may ask? step one: get pregnant. step two: pop a blood vein. step three: cry your way to the ER (actually labor and delivery because the ER won’t see pregnant ladies). your tearing eyes will not necessarily be from the pain. more likely because this is the stupidest reason to have to spend the entire night on the labor and delivery floor. then go through tests to make sure you and your baby are not going to die from a blood clot as you make mental lists of who should attend your funeral. pass all said tests. breathe a sigh of relief and there you have it – your prescription for teeny-tiny tights. that is all. no drugs to take; no special stretches to perform or specialists to visit. just put on some panty hose, elevate your legs, and pray for the best.

this whole thing has just been the pits. and then the sun comes out to mock me and my new-found style mandate. so here, now, are some unrelated photos for posterity and the fact that looking at them brings me joy as i sit right here and sit. i just noticed her tongue is sticking out in every one….

bee wants you to see: matching!

bee wants you to see: matching!

bee's sweet new milk-drinking spot on her reproduction bertoia kiddie chair. too big today, but i bet tomorrow she'll be tall enough for it at the rate she's growing. a lady at the library referred to her as godzilla next to her teeny mouse-sized son. not appreciated.

bee’s sweet new milk-drinking spot on her reproduction bertoia kiddie chair. too big today, but i bet tomorrow she’ll be tall enough for it at the rate she’s growing. a lady at the library referred to her as godzilla next to her teeny mouse-sized son. not appreciated.

crazy hair. crazy eyes. crazy personality. that is my baby.

crazy hair. crazy eyes. crazy personality. that is my baby.

and betsy, too.

and betsy, too.

save me mama, with your shirt.

save me mama, with your shirt.

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planning to plan for baby number two

(originally posted March 10, 2014)

escaping the monotony of daily routines, especially during the doldrums of a portland winter, always gives me the pause i need to do some actual thinking. especially when a hammock and a beach are involved. and mostly i am thinking about how life is going to change in three short months. the nesting instinct is taking over my brain, but this time around i have the benefit of already owning most of the baby gear i will need along with the experience to know that a newborn needs close to nothing. bee and i, on the other hand, will need some coping mechanisms.

i also have the benefit of knowing that in those first few months there will be no time or energy for thinking. so rather than spend hours online researching the best bpa-free baby bottle (it turns out they’re all terrible), for the rest of my pregnancy i’ll focus my energies on some other logistics:

1. fitness plan

with bee, the stars couldn’t have aligned more perfectly. she was born in the late summer so we hibernated all winter with a scattering of short bundled up walks. by the time her neck was supposedly strong enough for a stroller run, my abdominals were equally ready and the springtime weather perfectly cooperated. though i think i actually probably cheated and started running closer to five months instead of the suggested six…but it was slow, i told myself. i signed up for the hood to coast with my work team so i had the perfect motivation to run every morning. while working i would often run the three or so miles to work and back – complete with my madela pump and milk for bee on my back. when i stopped working around the same time the sunshine picked up, a morning run fit perfectly with bee’s nap schedule. we’d wake up, eat breakfast, then head off to the park. by the time we got home she’d be ready for a nap and i could shower and be ready to start the day around ten am. then we’d usually walk to another park mid-day, another nap, and sometimes a third park adventure in the early evening. i could repeat that schedule for the rest of my life. but then winter arrived and bee’s naps shortened to one and a second baby popped into my belly and it has all gone downhill.

this time around i know the stars aren’t going to align on their own and i need a plan in advance. the baby will be born in early summer so we’ll be at stroller-running age just as the rains and cold weather hit. this time of year is already mentally challenging for running, let alone squeezing two babes into a double stroller with snacks, dipes, toys, and books just to make it around the block with screaming and tears and winding up back at home. that’s how i picture it anyways. so before the baby comes, i’m going to visit some gyms and figure out a solution that will work for everyone. i won’t likely sign up for the hardest leg of a 24-hour relay totaling 18 miles, but i want to set some sort of goal so i always have an end-point in mind. maybe even just a 5k next spring. or a sprint-triathlon if i feel particularly ambitious. i’ll also need to fill my body with proper fuel, which leads me to…

4. nutrition plan

i’m not generally a freezer-meal-lover and especially when i had a newborn nursing, all i craved was something fresh, full of vegetables, and filling. and LOTS of it. i anticipate this will be even more pronounced in the summer with the new baby. one of the best gifts i received was from my bicycle-loving coworkers in the form of a weekly delivery from soupcycle. not only was the food so fresh and filling, but the gift of not thinking about what’s for dinner is better than anything i can conceive.

so instead of stocking my freezer, i’m going to research a csa that will provide me will easy ingredients (the last one we got was terrific, but would throw in a lot of curve balls like celeriac and mushrooms i’d never heard of). though i enjoyed the challenge pre-baby, inspiring and unique ingredients are more likely to end in tears of failure. i will just need what i already know (and by i, realistically, i mean my husband) and can throw together for lunches and dinner easily for a hungry mom and picky toddler. speaking of toddlers, i’ll need a…

2. plan for bee

although i plan to keep the summer very simple and flexible, bee is getting to an age where she needs social and physical interaction beyond what our backyard can offer (which is currently limited to brief squirrel sightings and puddle stomping). i’d like to find some weekly activities for her as well as some easy entertainment to have in the backyard. and if the going gets really tough, an exit strategy, aka daycare. hoping to put that off as long as i can.

to make the summer shared with a new baby special for bee, i’m currently thinking ballet lessons or soccer classes. plus maybe more balls, hoops, sandboxes, tricycles, and a Popsicle-maker (who knew that Popsicle is a proper noun?). we have a garden store four blocks away that i envision visiting often and i’d love to start some seedlings with bee. perhaps i should read a book on gardening with a wee one. which brings me to…

3. reading plan

there are so many opportunities for reading with a newborn. and by that, what i mean to say is that you are up at all hours of the night with a crying baby who will only be soothed by being held, bounced, rocked, and shushed. and since you have a little baby you can’t put down along with insomnia at the anticipation of her waking in less than an hour even if you can manage to set her down, you might as well read a book or two on your iphone.

with bee, my sleep-deprived self gravitated towards one genre: baby sleep. i had a very narrow focus of breaking the cycle of no sleep and cracking the code to infant sleep patterns. only in hindsight do i now realize there is no getting out of it. babies be babies. they need to be held. and so you’ll do some nightly reading. you will be too mentally exhausted to choose any books, so here’s where i think a list might come in handy. in the next few months i’m going to make that list. i suspect i’ll stay in the non-fiction realm as i typically do, but maybe since my brain will be so zonked it will be a good time for some easy fiction beach reads. i’ll prepare for both scenarios accordingly. so far my list is lonely at one:

all joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenthood

suggestions appreciated. and last, but not least…

5. what to wear plan

having a new nursing baby makes dressing in anything beyond yoga pants, a nursing tank, and a robe seem laughable. but having a toddler that needs to get out of the house makes this attire *possibly* inappropriate. i’m going to have to get creative and do some shopping before the baby comes (since trying on anything in a dressing room with two littles is out of the question).

with bee, there has never been an age where my hands are free to lace or buckle complicated shoes as we’re making our way out the door. so high on my list are some easy-to-put-on park shoes for daily walks. also high on the list are some shirts suitable for both nursing and being seen by the general public. and maybe i’ll even buy myself a nice new pair of fancy yoga pants, because, let’s be honest with our future selves.

puddling lately

February 21, 2014

bee’s recipe for an ideal day, leading to a peaceful evening and a restful night for mama:

  • no less than two doses of outside time which can include a walk, a search for those helicopter things (bee calls them ‘seeds’) that you can throw and spin around in the backyard, puddle stomping, or playground play
  • physical activity in the form of the above or dancing in a big open space like our basement or the grocery store
  • protein-filled snacks like hummus and cheeses
  • friends – be it a play date, kiddie event, or a chance encounter with neighborhood kids (bee calls them ‘babies’ despite the fact that they are all quite older than her)

if we miss any of these things, there’s a chorus to our evenings of ‘mama, mimi, mommy’ with arms outreached and legs collapsing underneath. and if we fill our day with too many stimulating experiences, the chorus is amplified. the simpler the day, the better. so basically, i cannot wait for the sun to come back.

life lately has been all muck and no sunshine. and yet, bee still insists on at least twice-daily adventures in fresh air. one of her first words to master was ‘go’ and it is the mantra for our days, rainy or not. if she merely sees the great outdoors, she wants to go to there. but a recent discovery of puddles means we don’t have to leave the backyard. an hour or more can be spent examining the lack of proper drainage on our pavers.

i’ve also gotten in the habit of walking bee to sleep in the afternoon, which is not necessarily enjoyable for me now that my belly is protruding in the front nearly as much as bee on my back. then add a downpour and the fact that i can only find a child-size umbrella, and it makes for a particularly wet situation. still hasn’t held us back though. the fear of her skipping a nap or crying is much greater than the fear of lower back pain these days.

because crying. eye puddles, man. they have been coming to me more often than my life calls for. particularly moving ice dance in sochi? puddle. athlete falls down during ski cross race? puddle. realizing i accidentally deleted a year’s worth of iphone videos and cannot complete my family movie montage? big puddle. is it the time of year? pregnancy hormones? the insomnia i’ve had for days? probably option d. all of the above.

but oh yes, we are leaving for kona on sunday. so i expect these puddles will all dry up.

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oh ya, that fancy gold-sequined collar? we were playing dress up with bee's tutus and headbands right before the little ones spotted the pool in the backyard.

oh ya, that fancy gold-sequined collar? we were playing dress up with bee’s tutus and headbands right before the little ones spotted the pool in the backyard.

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someone loves to put her hair in a ponytail - even though there is hardly enough hair to call it that.

someone loves to put her hair in a ponytail – even though there is hardly enough hair to call it that.

10 things nobody told me about the second pregnancy

January 13, 2014

1. the importance of easy-to-remove winter shoes

tell me, do these even exist? because turns out they are a necessity that i have yet to embrace. remember how hard it was to tie your shoes toward the end of the first pregnancy? and then remember how impossible it is to carry a sleeping baby from her happy sleepy slumber in the car to her crib on the second floor while keeping the floor clean? combine the two now. impossible.

if you’ve managed to turn off the rockabye baby pandora station, haul in two loads of groceries, let the dog outside so she doesn’t bark or do that horrendous collar scritch-scratch ‘i’m going to wake up the baby with fun jingling sounds because i can’, and then slide baby out – ever – so – very – gently without waking her, you’ll already be patting yourself on the back. but then, flash forward to: you’re at the door and realize there is mud all over your paige tall frye boots. is it worth the labor of busting out the mop for the wooden stairs and putting the baby at risk of toxic chemical fumes from the resolve triple oxi advanced carpet stain remover you’ll have to use? no, you decide. so you bend over, grab your ankle. baby’s head thrashes back. you hop several times. that’s soothing to the baby, right? you finally walk over to the couch even though it means a few steps on your white living room rug (because that was ever a good idea) and sit down. baby immediately starts crying. no longer in motion, she knows she must be in great danger. baby opens eyes; sees toys still scattered about the living room because you don’t bother to pick them up before a quick errand to fred meyer that turned into a two-hour let baby roam the toy, baby clothes, and beer (this i surprisingly find to be the safest of the grocery sections for a toddler who refuses to sit in a shopping cart like every single other good toddler i see in the store – nothing’s reachable) aisles while you check your pinterest for machine-washable stylish winter sweaters because spit up and your closet full of cashmere, it turns out, do not mix; and she’s ready to play.

so, baby’s up. a 10-minute nap seems to have done the trick until about three hours later when it’s too late for a second nap and too soon for bed-time and you are left with a monster for two more hours, including dinner-prep time. so it’s time to call husband and order him pick up pizza, again. because life is just too hard to bear. and those ever-so-well-intentioned collard greens, kale, and chioggia beets will spend yet another day in the fridge…probably to their demise.

so, not to go on complaining too much about my leather boot collection (i know, fwp), but there must be another way. tell me if you’ve found it. i refuse to sit in the car listening to hours of kiddie music just so bee can finish her sleeps uninterrupted. and if i can use this to justify a shoe purchase, well then, i will.

and on a totally unrelated note, this is a series i like to call, ‘torture’.

oh ya, and if you’re counting, that was only one. bee woke up. so it goes.

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so close she can taste it

so close she can taste it